Maryland Disorderly Conduct Lawyer
Anyone at any time can find themselves facing disorderly conduct charges in Maryland. Under ß 10-201, a variety of activities are prohibited, including acting in a disorderly manner that disturbs the public peace and making unreasonably loud noise. While disorderly conduct charges are typically charged as misdemeanors in this state, a Maryland defense lawyer can help you avoid costly fines and possible jail time, especially if you are a repeat offender.
One of the major problems with Maryland disorderly conduct law is that the terms used to describe “disturbing the peace” are vague—sentencing can often vary drastically from judge to judge. Repeated disorderly conduct convictions, especially those involving alcohol, can have far-reaching consequences. Offenders can find themselves evicted from their rental space, with a suspended license, or even forced to attend alcohol or anger management classes. If you’re facing disorderly conduct charges, a Maryland defense lawyer can examine all of the evidence involved in your case and look for inconsistencies that could earn you a lighter sentence or even dismissal.
Disorderly Conduct Info
Maryland Disorderly Conduct Law
Most disorderly conduct laws are included in Maryland state laws from ß 10-201(c)(1) to ß 10-204(c), all of them misdemeanors. A further set of codes deals specifically with disorderly conduct that interferes with the rights of religious institutions to gather within the state. Most of the guidelines and definitions dealing with disorderly conduct, however, fall within ß 10-201. Beginning with (a), Maryland defines which public places enforce disorderly conduct laws, including:
- Restaurants, shopping centers, taverns, stores, other businesses
- Buildings used by the general public
- Parking lots
- Publicly used streets and sidewalks
- Parks and other public properties
- Educational facilities
- Religious facilities
- Public transportation vehicles (buses, trains, taxi cabs)
ß 10-201 further covers what defines disorderly conduct within the state, forbidding a person from generally obstructing the passage of another person in a public place or acting in a manner that violates public peace rights. Citizens are further legally required to obey reasonable and legal orders from law enforcement officers. Certain areas in Maryland also set specific rules that fall under the umbrella of disorderly conduct. For example, in Worcester County, you can be charged with disorderly conduct for building a bonfire between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on a beach or other public property.
The penalty for violating ß 10-201 is relatively similar across all individual offenses—a $500.00 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Keeping a disorderly house, however, can result in a $300.00 fine and up to six months behind bars.
Disturbing the Peace
Maryland defense lawyers also regularly defend clients charged with a similar crime: disturbing the peace. More often than not, disturbing the peace is the same as disorderly conduct, but with a few discerning characteristics. For example, disturbing the peace will more likely be the charge if you enter the property of another person and make unreasonably loud noise or act disorderly. Disturbing the peace can also be charged if a person makes loud noise that disturbs another but does not necessarily obstruct the path of another person.
Disturbing the peace is outlined in ß 10-201(c)(4), while a special designation for loud noise also exists under ß 10-201(c)(5). Both are punishable by a $500.00 fine and up to 60 days in jail. ß 10-203(b) specifically forbids citizens from disrupting an athletic contest, particularly by throwing objects onto the playing surface. This law only applies to public athletic contests operated with commercial interests. The state must prove that an object thrown onto the playing surface is likely to, or did, cause injury to a participant in the contest or another observer. ß 10-204(c) specifically forbids interference of an emergency vehicle’s ability to travel to or from a medical facility, usually on the facility’s property. This crime is punishable by a $1,000.00 fine and up to 90 days in jail. Finally, a set of laws protect religious institutions from disturbance:
- ß 10-302: Citizens may not deface religious property — punishable by a $5,000.00 fine, 3 years imprisonment
- ß 10-303: Citizens may not obstruct a religious ceremony — punishable by a $5,000.00 fine, 3 years imprisonment
- ß 10-304 (1): Citizens may not harass a religious person — punishable by a $5,000.00 fine, 3 years imprisonment
- ß 10-305 (1): Citizens may not damage religious property — punishable by a $5,000.00 fine, 3 years imprisonment
If another crime that is ruled a felony is committed at the same time as a violation of ß 10-304 (1), the accused can be charged with a felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a $10,000.00 fine.
Both disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct are crimes that are usually minor, but they can quickly add up to shocking sentences depending on the circumstances. If you are charged with disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace, a Maryland defense lawyer can help you fight charges and earn the best possible outcome in your case.
Due to the vague language used to describe disorderly conduct in Maryland, anyone has the potential to find him or herself facing misdemeanor criminal charges. Without a Maryland defense lawyer specializing in disorderly conduct, you can find yourself facing hefty fines and possible jail time — up to a potential six months. A local disorderly conduct lawyer can use his or her experience with the regional court system to give you the edge you need to navigate the Maryland court system and get the best possible outcome in your case. Our Maryland defense attorneys keep offices in the following cities and other areas throughout the state:
Considered both an independent city and a county-level entity, the city of Baltimore is the largest city in Maryland. Our Maryland defense attorneys specializing in disorderly conduct keep an office in this sprawling city to better assist you in your upcoming case. With 72 historic districts that city officials vehemently protect, anyone can be charged with disorderly conduct for activities that you might normally consider tame. Our disorderly conduct lawyers can help you examine the evidence in your case while leveraging familiarity with the local court system to gain you the best possible outcome on your charges.
Located just northwest of Washington, D.C., Bethesda is home to 60,858 people. Even summary offenses like disorderly conduct can result in fines and negative repercussions from the local community. Our legal defense team in Bethesda is dedicated to defending clients charged with minor offenses such as disorderly conduct. Our Maryland defense lawyers in Bethesda are conveniently located within your community to cut down on travel time and give you maximum access to your defense.
College Park is home to the largest university in Maryland, the University of Maryland at College Park. A young population likely contributes to more disorderly conduct charges in the area — around 51.3 percent of the residents are between the ages of 18 and 24. Our College Park defense attorneys understand the local area and court system, and they have the expertise to help you fight disorderly conduct charges of all types. While the penalty might seem minor, you owe it to yourself to seek dedicated legal counsel, especially if you feel like you were unfairly charged.
The majority of the 99,615 people that live in Columbia are middle-aged or young adults between the ages of 18 and 44 (6.7 percent 18 – 24; 34.1 percent 25 – 44). But Columbia, despite featuring an older demographic, is also a common area for disorderly conduct charges ranging in severity. The vague language used to define disorderly conduct in Maryland can result in unfair arrests, perhaps while the accused are living in or visiting Columbia. Our Maryland defense lawyers in Columbia are experts in disorderly conduct cases, especially when there is doubt as to whether a crime has actually taken place.
During 2011 and early 2012, approximately 928 people in Montgomery County were arrested for disorderly conduct, although the charge was often added to other more serious offenses. With 971,777 people living in the county, this still makes disorderly conduct charges in the area relatively rare. If you are facing disorderly conduct charges in Montgomery County, our Maryland defense lawyers can help you understand the charges, represent you in court, and help you get through the court system and on with your life.
Prince George’s County
While Prince George’s County is slightly smaller than Montgomery County at around 871,233 residents, disorderly conduct is still a frequent charge in the area. A large student population and vibrant nightlife contribute to increased police presence along with more opportunities for citizens to be unfairly charged with disorderly conduct. Our Maryland defense attorneys specializing in disorderly conduct have experience defending clients just like you and are conveniently located in Prince George’s County to give you maximum access to your dedicated defense team.
Nearly a quarter of the population of Rockville, Maryland is under the age of 18, which often leads to an overload of cases in juvenile court. In Rockville and throughout the state of Maryland, disorderly conduct arrests of teenagers and young adults make up a large percentage of all arrests. In 2008, 149 teens alone were charged with disorderly conduct throughout Maryland (only second-degree assault, marijuana charges, and theft were more common among young persons). Disorderly conduct is a charge that often leaves the defendant wondering exactly which laws they broke to end up in court. Our Maryland disorderly conduct defense lawyers can fully examine your case to find discrepancies in police reports and factual errors that could earn your dismissal.
As of 2010, Silver Spring, Maryland had about 71,000 residents, and that number is expected to grow as the downtown area continues to expand and new places to live and work pop up. The downtown area is also very popular to those in surrounding areas, so on any given weekend night the number of people in the area is probably much higher than the normal amount considered in the census. Because of all the new restaurants and bars being opened up in the downtown area, some disorderly conduct issues might arise. If you have been arrested or formerly charged in Silver Spring, please contact us for more information about how we may be able to help you.
Hyattsville, Maryland is a suburb of Washington, D.C., and home to over 17,000 citizens as of the last census in 2010. That figure is always in flux, however, because a lot of students live there and those numbers are always growing. If you are a student and you have been charged with disorderly conduct that you fear might put your educational opportunities in danger, please contact us for more information about the services that our firm can provide.